Editor's Note: The above video is from a media session on Feb. 17, 2016.
SCOTTSDALE — The best thing that happened to the Giants on Sunday may have been a Cody Bellinger grounder that got just past Joe Panik’s glove in the top of the fifth inning. Panik laid out for the ball, hitting the sun-baked field hard in an attempt to keep the inning’s leadoff hitter off base.
And then he quickly popped right back up.
“All good,” a smiling Panik said a few minutes later. “I’m not even thinking about it. I’m going full go.”
That type of jarring dive would have left Panik wincing in the second half last season, when he played through a stress fracture in his back. The second baseman was cleared in December and has had no issues this spring. Manager Bruce Bochy has slow-played Panik a bit and will give him Monday off, but at the moment Panik leads all starting position players with nine spring at-bats.
“He’s going to be able to ramp up his action soon,” Bochy said. “Two weeks from now he’ll get to that ball. He’s doing well … it’s only going to get better with him.”
Panik hasn’t had even a hint of a setback this spring, and he said Sunday’s game was his most active of the month thus far. He turned two double-plays in six innings before heading down to the clubhouse. After chatting about his game, Panik took off down the hallway that leads to the back rooms of the clubhouse. But this year Panik isn’t headed for the trainer’s office. He had conditioning work to do.
HEALTH UPDATES: Bochy said Johnny Cueto had a good bullpen session and will make his scheduled start on Wednesday. Matt Cain played catch for the first time since having a cyst removed; he’ll play catch once more and then throw a bullpen session. Denard Span is about a week away from playing center field. Bochy said the staff wants to make sure his arm is up to speed.
ICYMI: Here's my story on Jeff Samardzija striking out the side in his first inning of Giants-Dodgers.
STOCK RISING: Bochy wants to see if Conor Gillaspie can handle first in addition to third, and he made a slick scoop of a bounced throw to get the leadoff hitter out in the third. Gillaspie could be helped by Kelby Tomlinson’s continued competence at shortstop. Tomlinson has looked good through the first week of games and he made a nice backhanded stop to start a double play in the sixth. If Tomlinson can be a long-term backup shortstop — and he looks like he can — the Giants will feel safer taking a corner guy like Gillaspie or Kyle Blanks, rather than a middle infielder like Ehire Adrianza.
FAMILIAR FACES: Trayce Thompson, Klay’s brother, played right field for the Dodgers. He had a better day than Klay. Charlie Culberson, the man traded for Marco Scutaro, had a two-run single.
NOTEWORTHY: Josh Osich rebounded from a rough Cactus League debut, striking out one in a scoreless inning … Steven Okert was the only other Giants pitcher to put up a blank sheet. Clayton Blackburn gave up two runs and Jake Smith allowed a pair … Mac Williamson didn’t homer today. He just hit a one-hopper to the wall that went for a standup double … Brandon Crawford was on deck when Panik flied out to end the fifth, so he had to wait a while longer for his third and final at-bat. Instead of going back to the dugout, the DH turned and sat in a folding chair next to Bochy. After the top of the sixth, Crawford stepped up and blasted a solo homer.